Photo credit: Michael Burrows

by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition

This article in the Chattanooga Pulse emphasizes the fact that earbud use can cause noise-induced hearing loss. To those of us who follow–and sometimes contribute to–the literature on personal audio system use causing noise-induced hearing loss, this is nothing new.

Unfortunately, it still isn’t widely enough known that to overcome ambient noise so they can understand what they are listening to, personal audio system users need to turn up the device output volume to dangerously high levels, high enough to cause auditory damage.

Better-fitting earbuds or headphones with noise cancelling features may allow listening at lower output volumes, but this is not a guarantee of preventing auditory damage.

We think the only safe use of a personal audio system is keeping it on the desk or in one’s pocket or purse.

Because if a podcast, audio book, or musical track sounds loud, it’s too loud, and your hearing health is at risk.